As a freelancer, having a mentor is an invaluable resource—and I’m not just saying that because I am one. 😂 Sure, you can rely on the creative friends you have who do similar jobs, and you can ask questions in industry-specific Facebook groups, and you can take courses to grow your skills… but what do you do when you just freaking want to know if you’re doing it right?!
You can try to Google things like “how long should it take me to draft an email welcome sequence if I also have to spend time learning the client’s brand voice” and “what’s the best way to ask for feedback on a website copy draft” and “should I send another contract if I’m working with the same client twice” and “when is it appropriate to send a client a gift” … but Google can only get you so far.
Google doesn’t know the ins and outs of your unique business, or the audience you’re serving, or the goals you have for your future.
Google has no idea what you’ve already tried, or what your clients prefer, or what it’s really like to be a freelance copywriter in 2022.
And Google definitely doesn’t know how to help you differentiate yourself from your competitors, create an identity for yourself as a brand, exponentially increase your income, streamline your internal processes, or craft a one-of-a-kind client experience.
Because Google doesn’t know YOU. But your mentor does.
Here’s the gossip: if I’d started out my copywriting journey with a mentor, I would’ve been much more successful, much faster.
…but I actually think that *not* having a mentor to help me through the first few years of my copywriting journey in the beginning is what actually makes ME a good big-sis-style mentor to have in your corner, because I know exactly which mistakes to help you avoid—which red flags to skrrt past, which green flags to chase—considering I probably made all of them myself.
(Then, of course, subsequently learned my lesson, dug myself out of the awk situations, and came out on the other side stronger.)
A few minutes before I decided to draft this blog post, I was building out a custom curriculum for my next mentee, overflowing with excitement. I can’t wait for all the things I get to teach her, all the questions I get to answer, all the feedback I get to give, and—most importantly—the ease I’ll hopefully bring to her, because I know how frustrating it can be to search and search for the answers to the unknown *freelancer best practices* that, in truth, are different for every individual person.
So, naturally, as soon as I finished reading through her goals and hopes for our partnership, I immediately opened WordPress to outline for you precisely what my mentorship / 1:1 consulting process looks like.
Let’s get into it!
First, though, it would be helpful for you to know WHO exactly I mentor:
…basically, anyone who wants one-on-one mentorship from an experienced copywriter, to help them excel at their own copywriting thing.
Here’s how it works:
After the whole disco call, proposal, contract, deposit, yadda yadda – everything *officially* begins with a brain dump.
Specifically, a big ass brain dump, where I instruct them to lay it ALL out for me:
& anything else they want to note. I explain to them that this brain dump—and what we talk about on our kickoff meeting (more on that in Step Two)—will be how I build out their custom curriculum (more on that in Step Three), so in order to get the absolute most out of the experience, they shouldn’t hold a single thing back.
And, so far, they haven’t – and these brain dumps have proven to not only be SO helpful to me in determining exactly how I can best serve them, but I’ve also heard from past mentees that they found the exercise very therapeutic.
It’s akin to stream-of-consciousness journaling: getting all the things out of your head and onto paper, so you can look at it, assess it, and tackle all of it, piece by piece.
For example, past brain dumps have jumped from “I want to earn $10k a month” and “my goal is to quit my day job” to “taxes?????? what???” and “do I have to provide my web copy clients with privacy policies?” — like I said, not a single thing is off-limits.
If it pertains to freelance business, copywriting, or marketing – or existing as a human while doing any of those things – we can talk about it & figure it out for you, together.
(Like I said, big-sis-style, minus the inevitable fights over sharing a closet.)
Once I’ve received your brain dump, I go through it, searching for common themes.
I’ll break it down into manageable pieces, then add each line-item from your brain dump into the appropriate umbrella.
From there, I’ll arrange it into a projected curriculum, to present to you at our kickoff meeting.
This 60-minute kickoff—not counted as one of our biweekly 1:1 calls, since it’s still part of the ‘get to know each other’ process—is for chatting through all things housekeeping:
And then, of course, to chat through how I’ve broken down their brain dump, and what I’m planning for our partnership.
I ask any questions I have about the brain dump, and I give them the opportunity to ask me any questions about… well, anything!
We end off the kickoff meeting by discussing our schedule for our biweekly calls, and I send them on their way to fill out a brief questionnaire (so I can have some more context about them, aside from what they’ve told me in their brain dump—and also so I can discreetly ask their birthday and their address, because I’m ridiculously obsessed with gifts) and explore their Notion dashboard.
Once I’ve presented the curriculum to the mentee on our kickoff meeting, and I’ve given them access to their Notion, I ask that before our first *official* 1:1 call, they approve (or make comments on/changes to) what I’ve come up with, so I know they’re on board.
Then, I build out a 12-week schedule for us, with a week-by-week itinerary, goals, and relevant homework.
(Side note: homework is something we discuss at the kickoff meeting – some mentees absolutely love it and ask for more, because they love actionable to-do’s, while others need a bit more time for info to sink in, and learn better when we do things together on our calls. So, that part changes for every mentee I have!)
(Another side note: I typically offer mentorship at a minimum of 12 weeks, because anything less doesn’t give us enough time to truly cover everything they need help with. Some mentees opt to extend, while others think 3 months together is perfect.)
Throughout the duration of the program, we have biweekly 1:1 calls—what I call “call weeks”—and on our off weeks, I assign optional homework and relevant next steps. Those are what I call “implementation weeks.”
On the call weeks, duh, we have our big, fancy call. It’s always recorded, and we always have an agenda—a la Step Three—and, more often than not, we end up covering a million more things than that original agenda had in store for us. These calls are 60-90 minutes, and they’re packed with action.
(Unless, of course, the mentee has expressed that they prefer less info spewed at them on the call, and instead, that info delivered via their Notion dashboard, so they can actually read it and sink it in. I’m a “I have to actually SEE the words to get it, too, so I feel that.)
I usually end up sharing my screen during the call, showing one thing or another, and doing live walkthroughs, giving feedback… whatever is needed or on tap as per the agenda!
Implementation weeks are more chill, however I always give my mentees the option to hop on a quick 30-minute check-in call with me, to work through any of the homework or answer any questions that would be too long for my signature voice-note-slash-text-message-podcast.
I’m always available via WhatsApp or iMessage (depending on their preference), whether you’re the type to send 80 texts a day, or the type to save all your Qs for call weeks.
At the 6-week mark—or wherever the halfway point is, if the mentee has opted for a longer mentorship program—I send out a survey requesting their feedback about their program and custom curriculum so far.
I ask about their learning preferences, my teaching style, the content we’re covering – everything! I want to make sure that our partnership is as beneficial as possible, because it’s all about them, and their success.
Making sure their investment is worth it is something I’m probably a little too obsessed with, because I don’t ever want to be associated with—or, God forbid, viewed as—one of those sketchy, scammy business coaches who charges a million dollars for a less-than-favorable result.
So, I send the survey. And it’s extremely helpful.
Using their feedback from the survey, we continue on with our program, and if necessary, I pivot, or add, or reduce – whatever makes sense – and then we move on through the rest of our time together using their feedback to fuel us!
Example of a pivot made as a result of the survey: my current mentee expressed that while she loved everything we were covering, and the format, she felt she’d be more successful if the homework were broken down further, into mini checklists in her Notion board. So, that’s what I did, and it’s working out great!
And I can say that with confidence, because when I asked if she could do it over, whether she’d opt to invest in working with me again, and this is what she said:
“ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY!!! Everything has been wonderful and I’ve grown immensely from our time together!”
Direct quote. I swear. Girl Scout’s Honor.
…or, if you’d rather, succeed while also still being supported by me 😎 because I’m always sad when the 12-week program is over, even though we’re always able to accomplish so much.
& speaking of… here’s what some of my past mentees have accomplished:
…and that’s just a tiny bit of what they’ve done—in 2022 alone. If I could give you the specifics of their business accomplishments, I would, but respecting their privacy is also immensely important to me, and due to the intimate nature of my relationship with them, a lot of their successes will instead be celebrated internally!
(But, just know, those gals are making serious money, working with dream clients, and feeling so much more confident than before. *sheds tear of joy*)
So… that was a lot. Here’s a recap of what my 1:1 mentorship program looks like:
& let me tell you, it’s so fun, so rewarding, and, quite honestly, one of my most favorite ways to serve my community of fellow freelance copywriters. I’m passionate about education, but I’m even more passionate about paying it forward, and mentorship is something I plan to continue in a big way.
So, if you’re a freelance copywriter—or freelance-copywriter-adjacent, or an aspiring freelance copywriter—and 1:1 mentorship is something you’re considering investing in, click here to apply or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about how I can help you!
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